Sunday, July 15, 2007

Hide and Seek in the Forest of ChouChou:
Gary Baseman at Billy Shire

My wife celebrated her birthday on Bastille Day (as usual) and allowed me the pleasure of taking her to the Gary Baseman opening at the Billy Shire gallery last night in Culver City -- awesome evening!

Baseman is known for his pervasive art (I'm pretty sure he coined the phrase, and plies his trade alongside fellow artists such as Tim Biskup). He is everywhere, not just with fine art but also vinyl toys, textiles, prints, books, soda cans... he blurs the line between low and high art, between fine art and commercial product. Not the first to do so, but certainly one of the more successful, and so quickly! I love his style and his various mythologies, many of which are very character-centered.

The "ChouChou" exhibit is an example of such, and we were able to chat with him at the opening and hear from the artist himself some of the ideas that went into it over the year he spent developing the concept. It was incredible to hear him describe the parts he had worked out and the parts that he still hadn't quite figured out, though he's already painting them...

Baseman is a guy I've been enjoying for a while, especially given our similar backgrounds: we both grew up in LA, both went to kindergarten at Laurel Elementary, both attended UCLA and had the same job there (years apart), both friends with my mentor Arvli Ward... and he has the type of success I'd like for myself.

2 comments:

cest.la.vie said...

I realize that art breeds differing perspectives and opinions, but I am truly struggling to understand how people can look at Baseman's art and see something worthwhile.

If you're so obliged, please stop by for a different point of view:

http://writingevolution.blogspot.com/2007/07/lowbrow-art-baseman-kukula-and.html

I'd be interested to hear your take on this matter. I'm not trying to be inflammatory--I'd just appreciate any insight you might have to offer.

B2 said...

Art provokes, inspires, inflames, infuriates, frustrates, confuses, and clarifies.